Sun rises at 5:35am
Sun sets at 6:47pm
Moon phase: just past Full
Moon rises at 7:08pm
Moon sets at 7:10am
The full moon of June is known as the Strawberry Moon, the Rose Moon or the Honeymoon! Whatever you call it, enjoy the full moon this weekend – although technically the full moon falls on Friday, it will still appear very close to full Saturday and even Sunday.
Interestingly, it is the farthest full moon – and hence the smallest full moon – of the year. Call it the micro-moon or mini-moon as opposed to the “super-moons” that have made headlines in recent years. This past Thursday, the moon was at its lunar apogee which is the moon’s farthest point in its monthly orbit. This almost exact alignment of full moon and lunar apogee team up to give us the farthest and smallest full moon of the year.
The June 9 moon lies some 30,000 miles (50,000 km) farther from Earth than did the year’s closest new moon which occurred on May 25. The micro-moon or mini-moon often returns about one month and 18 days later with each passing year, meaning that, in 2018, the year’s smallest full moon will come on July 27.
In 2019, the year’s smallest full moon will fall on September 14; and in 2020, the smallest full moon will occur on October 31. The micro-moon or mini-moon frequently recurs in periods of 14 lunar months (14 returns to full moon), a period of about one year and 48 days.
Every month for the next seven lunar months, the full moon will come closer and closer to Earth until the full moon finally coincides with perigee (instead of apogee) on January 2, 2018, to present the closest and largest full moon (plus the closest and largest super-moon) of 2018. Then seven lunar months after the closest and largest full moon super-moon on January 2, 2018, it’ll be the smallest full moon micro-moon all over again on July 27, 2018.
But, I digress, so let’s get back to star-gazing this weekend. Look south to the horizon to mark the bright stars of Canopus and Spica as well as the constellation of the Southern Cross. The cross sets around 11:00pm and Canopus and Spica follow about an hour later.
In the early evening, look for the planet Saturn and the bright star Acturus in the vicinity of the moon, making an almost straight line across the sky.
Thank you for keeping up with the Night Sky articles. If you are out later on in the week, each star rises about four minutes earlier each day than written here, and the moon rises 50 minutes later. Night Sky is researched and compiled by Lisa Davis-Burnett. Earthsky.org is a key resource for information and images. Questions or comments? Email [email protected]